Archive for October, 2008
Special Presentation by Deep Dish TheatreÂ of THIRD
Monday, November 3, 2008 5:30pm
Great Hall – student Union
Members of Chapel Hill’s Deep Dish Theater Company will perform excerpts of the last play by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, which is a fierce and funny look at gender politics in academia and struggles over intellectual freedom, followed by a conversation led by Donna Bickford.
Come join us for this special event!
…is just what author, and UNC alum, E. Patrick Johnson, did in his performance of Pouring Tea at the Sonya Hanes Stone Center last week. The performance was based on stories Johnson collected for his book Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South (on sale at the Bulls Head Bookshop if you are interested).
The full title of the piece is Pouring Tea: Gay Black Men of the South Tell Their Tales, and tell they did. Johnson illustrated the men he interviewed by portraying each in an honest, respectful manner. He took care in sharing inflection and tone tendencies, as well as physical characteristics and mannerisms. It was also important to Johnson to include an audio excerpt of each interview, so as to consistently remind audiences that his performance reflected human beings, rather than fictional characters. Johnson gracefully touched several areas of sensitivity including sexual violence, exploration of gender identity and family relations. The stories were vastly different and each offered a unique perspective, yet all explored one similar theme: gender is a constructed progression. Just as personality is cultivated, fluid, and changing gender is a malleable concept.
This was most evident in the story of Chaz, a transgendered male who had for, a significant portion of his life, considered sex change surgery. His words speak louder than my own.
“My ideal life now is just to embrace everything that makes me who I am. All of my indifference, all of my attributes, all of my qualities, as well as my faults, and to realize that God has made no mistakes in making me, that his words said, I was fearfully and wonderfully made. Who am I to say anything different? But because of that, keeping that in retrospect to the way that society treats you because of your indifference, I’m at a level of maturity where I no longer am overly concerned about what people say or think about me, or my lifestyle, or my life choices, for that matter. I feel that the most important person in my life is me. If I’m not happy, if I’m not well, if I’m not content, then anything else is irrelevant. And then, once I’ve established that happiness, being content with who I am, and with where I am at, then I can appreciate others, and add to the quality of their lives (356, Sweet Tea).”
Why is dialogue so integral to performance? It was evident in the performance, as the piece was based on conversation. Yet, I still wonder what about dialogue is so nursing, satisfying, helpful? What about “story spinning” and conversation makes it feel so innate?
Let me know your thoughts, and continue to contribute.
We have a number of exciting, unique performances coming up. Details are published here and can also be found at http://www.carolinaperformingarts.org/creativecampus/.